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Contextualising the Play

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Contextualising the Play There are many different contexts to the play and they are all influenced by social, cultural and historical implications. The context of the play itself and how it was written and performed for the first time and now were all influenced by events that occurred in Brecht's life. The play itself discusses the thirty year war but is a clear reflection of the Second World War. Brecht believed that the war only took place for the economic benefit of the government and decided to portray this within his work. Marxism was the influence that gave Brecht hope that there was good within humans although some needed re-awakening. Therefore his objective was to make people aware of this and he did this through a process of alienation. The play Mother Courage and her Children was Brecht putting his ideas into practice as the whole play involves alienation and concentration on the political message being portrayed. ...read more.


It is definite that the Second World War was a big influence on the way the thirty year war was portrayed in Brecht's work. Brecht was also in exile and forced to move to Sweden and then Finland. He saw more of the world and bought this cultural element into the play as Mother Courage travel around Europe on her cart. Being forced out of Germany also bought additional hatred towards the war, which impacted the negative attitude conveyed within the play. Historical implications had a big influence in the context of the play as in 1949 Germany was split into two, eastern and western Germany. There were now two complete different currency zones and West Germany was founded. This was a prime time for Berlin as it was at the bloom of its development into a modern industrial town. This had great impact on many elements of Berlin, one being theatre. This impact on theatre in turn made a positive achievement in Brecht's career. ...read more.


However, in theatre today many scenes are cut out of the performance which is easily done in Epic theatre as every scene is its own. The performance also consists of the same characters taking over two roles. The play still conveys Brecht's message but has slight modifications. The typical characteristics of Epic theatre still are used to make sure the performance embraces the Brechtian theme. Today's theatre audience cannot relate to the consequences of war and therefore the alienation effect was achieved. The play did so well that it was the founder of Brecht's new company, however in 1949 the Berliner Ensemble Mother Courage and her Children was described as a failure and a success. A failure as Brecht did not achieve the alienation aspect he wanted to employ and instead the audience felt empathy for the characters. This may be due to the fact that they can relate to the character and the story is 'to close home'. However it was also a success as it was the founder of Brecht's master pieces, the development of a modern town and one of the most popular plays written by Brecht. ...read more.

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This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

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